Tuesday, July 29, 2014


This collage of mine (with elegant blue stripe added by a friend) is currently on display in the rotunda at Stanford's Green Library, at the top of the grand staircase.  It feels honored to be there, and is in illustrious company.

The composition was a long, organic process.  The collage started as a postcard, sent forth and back through the mail.  The bit on the right, escaping the frame, is from an old Larousse dictionary.  The lovely alphabet with blue stamp is from a Griffin and Sabine calendar I'd had in a drawer since working on campus.  The ancient masking tape along the top held a photo on the matboard in the reused frame, a long-ago picture of me seated romantically on a stone wall in Borghetto sul Mincio.  (Probably more or less where poor Gilda went, singing, in her canvas sack, into the river.)

My artist's statement that accompanies the collage reads thusly:

In Art as Experience, John Dewey writes
“There are things inside the body that are foreign to it, and there are things outside of it that belong to it . . . that must, that is, be taken possession of if life is to continue.

Whatever its medium, my art has at its heart the journey out, and back, retrieving vital things—
  • what’s slow, and takes its time
  • what sings to me
  • what’s quirky (quietly), quizzical

There’s always joy in it, and learning.  Liminal spaces, distances, the shimmer of mirage in a long swath of sand.  The play of light and time.  Fossilized pine tree resin, holding ancient life within it and worn, warm, against the skin.

All that is old and spiritful—the word a gift from an Italian friend.

A thumbmark in red clay from up the canyon one school day;
the frogs and campanile bells outside the open windows of the letterpress studio;
Albinoni playing as we (playing archaeology) explore inscriptions and sacred old bones.

Whole constellations of wonder, the stories in the stars. 

Belief in God or gods.
Belief in children and the grace of age.
A love of charred spring onions, Greek coffee, oregano.
The whimsy of oranges and priors and the cold noses of dogs.
The temple bell never done sounding and resounding
       in the inmost reaches of the human ear.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Paleography

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